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May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Customer Service and Resource Family Retention

The kinds of interactions that occur between a resource family and child welfare agency staff, as well as the way a family perceives they are being treated, can often affect whether the family is willing to continue working with an agency. The National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR) at AdoptUSKids developed a guide to help child welfare agencies use customer service concepts to improve their recruitment and retention efforts and provide a more positive experience for foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

The guide defines good customer service within the context of child welfare and offers principles for the application of these concepts to child welfare work. The roles of foster, adoptive, and kinship families as both customers and partners are also discussed. The guide provides a framework for customer service in child welfare that emphasizes processes, relationships, and organizational commitment to good service and encourages agencies to ask the following questions:

  • What would good customer service look like?
  • What will it take to provide good customer service?
  • How will your agency know when it is or is not providing good customer service?

An example of an implementation process for good customer service and several tools for agency assessment and development of standards and practices also are included. Access Using Customer Service Concepts to Enhance Recruitment and Retention Practices through NRCDR's website: (849 KB)